Credit where it’s really due

So, Jeremy Drysdale and I wrote a novel called Clown Wars: Blood & Aspic. It was full of cool characters, wicked scenes, genius gags, tragedy, comedy and irony. And it was an ace story. Usual problem – no one wanted to publish it…

Five years later we thought: “Hey! We can do it ourselves! Easy!”

But it isn’t, actually. Especially for a pair of bozos like me and Jez. We needed help. But what do you know? Help was out there in veritable cohorts.

Our first team member was Book Ninja, Caroline Goldsmith. Along with Karen Ings, Caroline founded indie book outfit Red Button Publishing. Among their excellent titles was Home by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone – that book still haunts me now and if you haven’t read it, you’re missing a treat.

Using her hard won publishing skills, Caroline held our hands throughout the entire process – from editing to uploading. If you’re thinking of self-publishing a book and want a real pro to back you up, I can’t recommend her highly enough.

The second team member was harder to choose – the cover artist. This caused Jeremy and I some stress and we had some difficult conversations about who we wanted. But, in the end,  it was Jeremy who found Suzanne Waters, a graphic artist who has worked for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Warner Bros Music, Mazda UK, Capital FM and Boom Magazine Asia, amongst many others.

Jeremy was originally attracted to her polygonal portraits of musicians and actors but, in the end, that style never became part of the cover. For a long time, I’d had an idea of melding a clown face with a biohazard symbol. I lacked the skill to make it real but Suzanne brought that idea, and the rest of our suggestions, to life quickly and brilliantly. We couldn’t have wished for a better cover.

The third team member was you lot.

Almost too many of you to mention but, if you’re reading this, you know who you are. You are comprised of readers, parents and their children, reviewers, bloggers, teachers, chance acquaintances, journalists, publicists, colleagues, editors, booksellers, authors, family and friends. Yes, we could have done it without you but not like this. Not this wonderfully. Not this brightly.

So, thank you.

There’s one final group to mention, and it’s with tongue just a little bit in cheek, but it is sincere:

Thank you, gatekeepers of the publishing world, for saying ‘no’ to us so resolutely and categorically. Thanks for standing shoulder-to-shoulder to prevent us from passing through your magic portal. Because nothing in this world that’s worth achieving comes without adversity and struggle. The fact that you said ‘no’ to us so uniformly for five years galvanised us. We polished and polished this novel. We showed it to readers of all ages for their comments. We listened, we adjusted and we rewrote until the novel shone. It is gold now and that is in no small part due to the barrage of turndowns we received during the unsuccessful submission process.

All that remains to be said is: We hope you like the show – the rehearsal nearly killed us.


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